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How do Argentineans eat?

Typical breakfast with cafe au lait, toast, butter and dulce de leche

Typical breakfast with cafe au lait, toast, butter and dulce de leche

Discover how Argentineans eat on this delicious article about Argentinean food customs.

Argentinian breakfast is somewhat light compared to what travellers from English-speaking countries are accustomed to. Hotels typically provide a free buffet consisting of coffee, tea, drinkable yogurt, assorted pastries and toast, fruit, and perhaps cereal. These kinds of breakfasts are also readily available in the many cafes.

How Do Argentineans Eat At Lunchtime?

Lunch is a big meal in Argentina, typically taken in the early afternoon. Lunch is so big because dinner is not until late: 8.30PM to 9.00PM at the earliest, more commonly at 9PM or even later. Most restaurants do not serve food until then except for pastries or small ham-and-cheese toasted sandwiches (tostados), for afternoon tea between 6 and 8 PM. Tea is the one meal that is rarely skipped. A few cafes do offer heartier fare all day long, but don’t expect anything more substantial than pizza or a milanesa (breaded meat fillets) or a lomito (steak sandwiches) outside of normal Argentine mealtimes.

Argentina Style Dinner: Typical Meals

Dinner is usually eaten at 10:00 P.M. and typically consists of appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Be aware that, similarly to the European “entree”, (entrada) refers to the appetizers. The north american “entree” is refered to as “main dish” or “plato principal”. For appetizers, there are empanadas (meat turnovers or dumplings), chorizo or morcilla (pork or blood sausage), and assortments of achuras (entrails). For an entree there is usually bife de chorizo (T-bone steak) and various types of salads. Then for dessert, there is flan (custard) topped with dulce de leche and whipped cream.

Argentina: Parrillada or barbeque on a grill or parrilla

Argentina: Parrillada or barbeque on a grill or parrilla

Beef is the central component of the Argentine diet, and Argentine beef is world-famous for good reason. Definitely check out Argentine barbecue: asado, sometimes also called parrillada, because it is made on a parrilla, or grill. There is no way around it – foodwise Argentina is virtually synonymous with beef. The beef is some of the best in the world, and there are many different cuts of meat. Lomo (tenderloin) and bife de chorizo are excellent. Having a parrillada dinner is one of the best ways to experience it, preferably with a bottle of wine from Mendoza. In some popular areas, parrilladas are available from small buffets, or sidewalk carts and barbecue trailers. Skewers and steak sandwiches can then be purchased to go.

Fugazzeta a classic in Buenos Aires pizza

Fugazzeta a classic in Buenos Aires pizza

Don’t Forget The Pizza & Pasta

Given that a large portion of Argentines are of Italian, Spanish and French descent, such fare is very widespread and of high quality; pizzerias and specialized restaurants are very common. Take note that a convention observed in Argentina is to treat the pasta and sauce as separate items; some travellers have found out what they thought was cheap pasta only to find that they were not getting any sauce (just pasta with drizzled olive oil). You will see the pastas for one price and then the sauces for an additional charge. This happens more often with side dishes. It is not customary for Argentineans to have the whole dish pre-selected for them. In Argentina, you get to pick exactly what you want your dishes to be served with!

Buenos Aires Pizza

Buenos Aires Pizza

How Do Argentineans Eat: Amazing Desserts

Buenos Aires Bakeries - Desserts

Buenos Aires Bakeries – Desserts

Cafes, bakeries, and ice-cream shops (heladerías) are very popular. Inexpensive and high-quality snacks can be found in most commercial areas, and many have outdoor seating areas. Empanadas (turnovers) containing meats, cheeses, or many other fillings can be bought cheaply from restaurants or lunch counters. The Alfajor is a must try snack of a two cookies with a dulce de leche filling and can be purchased at virtually any local kiosco.

Smoking is now prohibited in most restaurants of Capital Federal and all of Mendoza’s restaurants.

 

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A single Jewish tomb

A single Jewish tomb reminds visitors of the multi-denominational character of Buenos Aires. Although it sits unoccupied today, this is the only tomb in Recoleta Cemetery decorated with a Star of David:

Benjamin Breitman - Recoleta Cemetery - Buenos Aires - Argentina

Benjamin Breitman – Recoleta Cemetery – Buenos Aires – Argentina

When the cemetery was founded in 1822, the majority of the city’s population was Catholic so it was blessed accordingly. During the presidency of Bartolomé Mitre the blessing was officially removed when he insisted that a prominent member of the Masonic Order be buried there. Or so the story goes. These days, all public cemeteries in Buenos Aires are non-denominational. However given the conservative class of the families present, Recoleta Cemetery remains 99% Catholic.
Not much is known about Benjamín Breitman or how he came to purchase a plot, but the history of Jewish burials in Argentina began with the establishment of the community in Argentina. Currently, the tomb is empty because Breitman’s family has moved all caskets to another cemetery.
Founded in the 1860s the Templo Libertad on Plaza Lavalle may not be the oldest synagogue in Buenos Aires, but it was the most important for early Jewish immigrants.
Jewish tradition foregoes ostentatious burials, given that all are equal after death. The largest non-Catholic cemetery during the early years of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires was the Cementerio de Victoria (now Plaza 1º de Mayo). Sponsored mainly by the Protestant community & 50% funded by the UK, Jews & Protestants were buried together at the same location. Popularly referred to as the Cementerio de los Disidentes (Dissident’s Cemetery), it filled to capacity during the 1871 yellow fever epidemic. Back then if you weren’t Catholic, then you must be a dissident.
The Jewish community had an opportunity to claim part of Chacarita Cemetery when it opened but opted to wait for their own burial ground. In 1912 the Cementerio de Liniers opened (actually just outside the city limits of Buenos Aires) exclusively for Jews & was mainly for those of Ashkenazi descent. Being buried there still remains a sign of high status within the community.
Jews of Moroccan descent—many referred to as “impure” based on their connections with the mafia—opened a cemetery south of Buenos Aires in Avellaneda. It is currently closed.
In 1936, another cemetery was opened for poorer Jews in Tablada & the newest cemetery in Ciudadela is typically for those of Sephardic descent. All these cemeteries are closed to visitors. La Tablada Cemetery: Avenida Crovara 2824, 1766 La Tablada; Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Largest Jewish cemetery in South America. A memorial monument for the 86 killed and 300 wounded in the bombing on July 18, 1994 was unveiled on July 16, 1995. La Tablada, which covers 138 acres and has 70,000 graves, is the largest Jewish cemetery in the country. With Latin America’s largest Jewish population, Argentina has 230,000 people who identify themselves as Jews. Tablada has computerized records.
45 known Jewish cemeteries exist in Argentina. JGS of Argentina has burial records for eighteen of those cemeteries, a total of 157,850 names current through 1997. The records cover about 100 years. Of these eighteen cemeteries, nine (of a total 11) are in the Buenos Aires area and nine (from 34 active ones) are in the country.

Source: After Life & JGS

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A beautiful, bruising trip to Salta Argentina

Visitor finds goods to admire, sand to be mired in, turns that cause gasps and views almost too stunning to grasp.

TRAVELING in this province is rough. Even on a guided tour and traveling in comfortable vans and cars, I encountered bumps. I bounced over miles of unpaved road, got stuck in a tour van in treacherous sand, gasped in fear at steep drops and sharp switchbacks, and gave up sleep for days that started before dawn and ended too late for dinner.

Argentina Travel - Salta - Balconies

Argentina Travel – Salta – Balconies

But every bit of discomfort was worthwhile, because Salta’s scenery is spectacular. The remote, crescent-shaped province in northwestern Argentina has dramatic gorges that stretch for miles, mountains that show off brilliant mineral hues and castle-like rock formations, green fields, cactus-strewn desert and treeless tundra so high that the clouds float far below.
Much of this province is uninhabited. Llamas roam free. Wild burros munch scraggly plants and nose at water seeping through rocks. Condors circle overhead.
I first heard about Salta while touring in Argentina’s Mendoza wine country, where I tasted Torrontés, a lovely floral white wine unique to Salta. One sip and I wanted to visit the region to learn more about the wine.
So I came here in April, which is autumn in Argentina. The lowlands were warm, but fierce, frigid winds drove me from a summit.
Except for one overnight trip, I toured by day from my base in the province’s capital city, a two-hour flight north of Buenos Aires.
Salta, founded in 1582 by Hernando de Lerma, governor of Tucumán to the south, is a pleasant city. People lounge at outdoor cafes around a tree-filled central plaza. Nightspots called peñas present shows of boisterous northern music and dance. Women sit in the main square outside the cabildo, a colonial building that was once the seat of government, and sell woolly socks, caps, gloves and shawls. I bought a llama-wool sweater from one.

salta-balcones01

Argentina Travel – Salta – Balconies in colonial Spanish styles

I also shopped the large public market, which offered a variety of products, including the herbal brew maté; bright, striped cloths from Bolivia; and produce such as corn, a staple used for, among other dishes, the stew locro and humitas, which are fresh corn tamales. Spice stalls sold pimentón (paprika) from Cachi in the Calchaquíes Valley, where the sweet red peppers are sun-dried.

The market was also a place to buy coca leaves, which are reputed to aid digestion and prevent altitude sickness. Every restaurant I visited served soothing, delicate coca-leaf tea. The leaves do yield cocaine, but small amounts aren’t intoxicating.

I stayed at the older, traditional Hotel Salta by the main plaza. A veranda opened off my floor, but I never had time to relax there. What mattered to me was that the breakfast buffet was in full swing by 6 a.m. Most tours start at 7 a.m., and once I had to catch a 6:15 bus, giving me only a few minutes to down a glass of orange juice, swallow a few bites of ham and cheese and grab small, gooey facturas (pastries) and medialunas (crescent rolls).

Travel agencies clustered near the plaza energetically hawk tours, and most offer the same itineraries at the same price. Tour prices generally do not cover meals or overnight accommodations. Understanding Spanish is an advantage, because on my tours, little was translated into English. Many are outdoor adventures. Mine were tame compared with horseback, rafting and trekking excursions.

Cardones - Salta - Argentina Travel

Cardones – Salta – Argentina Travel

Some agencies handle tours better than others. I had one poor experience — an uninformative guide, a wretched hotel — and another that was exceptional. That trip went up the Cuesta de Obispo (Bishop’s Peak) to Los Cardones National Park, named for the tall, branching cardóncactus that thrives at high altitudes, then on to Cachi, a town where raised walkways enabled colonial women to step from their dwellings to carriages without dirtying their long skirts in the street.
David, the guide, a music professor by profession, kept up a lively conversation about history, music and folklore, fed us alfajores (cookies sandwiched with caramel filling) and drove smoothly and tirelessly for almost 12 hours.

A rocky road trip in Salta Argentina

ANOTHER tour took me to Iruya, a town tucked into a craggy, precipitous gorge about 200 miles from Salta. Because of the many stops we made, the journey there and back took two days. Along with a couple from England and another from

Quebrada de Humahuaca - Jujuy - Argentina Travel

Quebrada de Humahuaca – Jujuy – Argentina Travel

Switzerland, I set off for Quebrada de Humahuaca, a 96-mile-long gorge that runs through Jujuy province to a turnoff for Iruya, which is in Salta province.
Leaving the city, we rode through fields of sugarcane and other crops. Wisps of cloud floated through hills in the distance. The driver said this parklike land was the “ugliest” part of the trip. The Swiss couple said it reminded them of Switzerland.
Farther on, the highway passed cornfields shaded by poplars, and cemeteries placed on hills so the dead would be closer to heaven.

This rough land, once part of the Inca empire, breeds hardy people. Here, Spanish settlers mingled with indigenous people, unlike in Argentina’s capital of Buenos Aires, which has a mostly European population.
At one rest stop, I came across a stack of rocks littered with bottles, cigarette packets and other trash. What looked like the refuse of thoughtless tourists was in fact an offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth), a reminder that pagan rites survive in modern-day Salta.

Adobe homes in this area are so isolated that children may have to walk hours to school. Water comes from rivers or wells, and the kitchen stove is an outdoor beehive adobe oven. People eat what they can raise, including goat, lamb and llama. I had goat stew for lunch in the town of Humahuaca, about 150 miles north of Salta, and noticed llama on the menu.

The Humahuaca gorge was the site of many battles after the struggle for independence from Spain broke out in 1810. Salta’s great hero, Gen. Martín Miguel de Güemes, easily outwitted Spanish troops unfamiliar with the challenging terrain. His gaucho guerrillas wore red ponchos with black trim — now the colors of Salta.

Güemes became mayor of the city at 25 years old and was slain at 36. Each year on June 16, gauchos assemble at his statue in Salta for an all-night vigil, followed by a parade the next day, the anniversary of his death.

Soon after Humahuaca, we turned off the highway onto a dirt road so rough it took two hours to traverse the final 35 miles to Iruya. We splashed through running streams and climbed to 13,123 feet to admire extraordinary vistas of mountains. Below, switchbacks cut through red rock to Iruya.

When we stopped, a little girl, accompanied by two shepherd dogs, rushed up to the car to beg for un caramelo (a candy). Children in this remote area rarely get such a treat.

We arrived in Iruya at twilight, which left little time to explore its steep, rock-paved streets. I did find a tiny shop that sold handicrafts, and for $2 I bought a fuzzy brown wool llama made by a woman named Matilde Díaz.

The guide dropped us at a crude hostel that had no comforts — not even things to wash up with. A young English backpacker in my tour group said it was the worst he had seen. But the view from the back veranda was astounding — I could almost touch the mountains.

After a simple meal of humitas, empanadas and coca-leaf tea in the town’s one decent restaurant, the Café del Hostal, I shopped for soap and a towel, and then listened to kids shooting baskets outside my room until after midnight.

Purmamarca road - Argentina Travel

Purmamarca road – Argentina Travel

Early the next morning, we were rousted out of bed for a breakfast of dry bread and coffee, then departed for Purmamarca. This town on the old trail to Peru made up for my disappointment in Iruya. It is shoppers’ heaven.
The entire main plaza had been turned into a dazzling marketplace and was loaded with colorful blankets, wall hangings, sweaters, dolls, belts, maté containers, jewelry and bunches of clattering animal claws that musicians use to beat rhythm.

Purmamarca Salt Pans - Argentina Travel

Purmamarca Salt Pans – Argentina Travel

We bought sandwiches and drinks to go and left the town for the salinas grandes, or salt fields. There, we ate our purchases in a restaurant under construction. The tables and benches were fashioned of thick salt slabs, and coarse salt covered the floor. Oddly, though it was hot, the salt furniture was almost as cold as ice.
The sparkling salt fields look like a vast frozen lake, and I couldn’t shake a worry that our heavy van might break through its surface. We did run into trouble — not on the field but on the dirt road that emerged from it. The van became stuck so firmly in deep sand that no amount of pushing could budge it. Luckily, a driver came along and helped get the van moving again.

Blacked out

BUT the delay cost us. The last part of the tour was to parallel the route of the Tren a las Nubes (Train to the Clouds). One of the highest railways in the world, the train traverses switchbacks and a soaring viaduct. We did drive the route but in total darkness — so we missed the scenery that makes it one of Argentina’s top tourist draws.

Never mind. In nine days I had seen enough to realize that the words in a local folk song, “Salta toda linda” — Salta, where everything is lovely — were too modest.

This historic province — despite its hardships — is more than lovely. It’s magnificent.

Source:Los Angeles Times – By Barbara Hansen, Times Staff Writer
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Jewish Argentina – Special Singles 35+ 10/8/09 Departure!

Jewish Argentina – Special Singles 35+ 10/8/09 Departure!

Price: $1,740 per person

Itinerary:

10/8/09 – Thursday: Departure to Buenos Aires, Argentina from your city.

Urban Suites Recoleta Hotel

Urban Suites Recoleta Hotel

10/9/09 – Friday:  The Jewish Argentina All inclusive vacation starts when you arrive to the Ezeiza airport where you will be transported to the Urban Suites Recoleta Hotel.  You will then be picked up to enjoy a welcome lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon be ready for our famous Recoleta Cemetery Tour, the architecture of Paris in Buenos Aires tour and later you may attend services at the Libertad Temple and partake of a wonderful Shabat dinner.

Buenos Aires - Libertad Temple

Buenos Aires – Libertad Temple

10/10/09 – Saturday: After breakfast, enjoy the exclusive Jewish Buenos Aires tour. Visit several Jewish Temples while sightseeing Buenos Aires and the site where the Israelite Association bombings took place. In the evening you will enjoy dinner with a Tango show and dance.

10/11/09 – Sunday: Morning breakfast and tour of San Telmo (colonial Spanish neighborhood) where you will be able to shop for wonderful antiques! Then the Onassis route and the Nazis in Buenos Aires tour. Discover how they caught Eichmann and many others! Afternoon shopping tour.

10/12/09 – Monday: Breakfast and afterwards visit Palermo; Barrio Norte, downtown Buenos Aires! Today enjoy the unique All about Evita Tour: Listen to Evita’s voice! Casa Rosada or Presidential Palace – CGT – the Congress –  and Plaza San Martin sightseeing tours. Return to the apartment to get ready for a traditional Argentinean steak dinner at an internationally acclaimed Buenos Aires restaurant.

10/13/09 – Tuesday: Depart on a tour of the famous Mayo Avenue and hear incredible stories. A stop at the Café Tortoni, the oldest bar in Buenos Aires to continue along Corrientes avenue, the Obelisco and the 9 de Julio avenue, the widest avenue in the world.  Lunch at Puerto Madero followed by more astounding Buenos Aires history. For dinner, the famous pizza and pasta of Buenos Aires followed by drinks at a local pub.

Buenos Aires Travel - Obelisco and Avenida 9 de Julio

Buenos Aires Travel – Obelisco and Avenida 9 de Julio

10/14/09 – Wednesday: Morning available for personally chosen activities. In the afternoon you will visit La Boca (Caminito, Boca’s Stadium and Museum) and Barracas – and listen to stories of murder in Argentina. Afterwards, the famous tango tour that includes the house of Carlos Gardel, a typical 5 o’clock tea followed by tango lessons. Dinner will take place at one of the famous Puerto Madero restaurants.

10/15/09 – Thursday: Morning: Romeo & Juliet in Buenos Aires. Afterwards a visit to the Malba Museum (a replica of the Guggenheim). Farewell 5 o’clock tea with wonderful biscuits and pastries.  Back to the hotel to pack and relax and transportation to the airport.

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Notes:

-The Hotel stay includes the room double occupancy rate and all of its services.

-Tips are not included

-Alcoholic beverages not included (unless specified)

-The Tours of the city of Buenos Aires and its professional guides are included

-Tourists will be accompanied by bilingual personnel thorough their whole stay

-Airfare and taxes not included

-Feel free to request information on special stays

-We can build your own departure date: Minimum 10 people

Contact us via email at argentourism@gmail.com

Buenos Aires nights - Argentina Travel

Buenos Aires nights – Argentina Travel